The Devil Is Beating His Wife

“I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?”

– Creedence Clearwater Revival

I don’t know about y’all, but I sure have! It happens a lot during North Carolina’s storm season. One minute the sun is shining above; the next, it’s piss pouring rain. During these quick shifts in weather, it’s not uncommon to experience rain while the sun is out.

Though it has no proper name, in some places, they call the phenomenon a sunshower. Belle and I found ourselves in one while we were in the mountains just a few days ago. Rain poured down on us, but across the way were clear blue skies.

We don’t call it a sunshower around here. I’m not sure why. I guess that’s just too basic, and as North Carolinians, we need to dress it up a bit. Instead, we say the Devil is beating his wife.

When we saw it in Bryson City, Belle announced that the Devil was beating his wife and marrying his daughter. I’d never heard it that way, but I do know a couple other variations: in one, the Devil is using a walking stick, and in the other, a frying pan.

Sunshowers are spectacular, so I’ve always wondered why they’re associated with things like the Devil and violence. Some say the expression can be explained as the sun representing Satan’s hellfire and the rain symbolizing his wife’s tears.

Fortunately, these little showers aren’t as morbid as the phrase describing them. And after a good sunshower, you’ll often find a rainbow, especially in the afternoon. Belle and I actually saw one after the rain passed us by.

How about y’all? What do you call it when the sun shines while it rains?

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